Bio-Energy

By: Joe Brown
By: Joe Brown

“We’re ethanol, we’re bio-diesel, we’re feedlot bio mass. Actually, you wouldn’t think about it but algae may be one of the better sources for producing bio-diesel.”

Bob Avant is the bio-energy program manager for the Texas Agricultural Experiment Station and says studies have shown promise of producing 15,000 gallons of bio-diesel per acre of algae. Most oil seed crops produce less than 100 gallons per acre.

“Even if that’s off by 3 orders of magnitude, several thousand gallons per acre of algae could get very interesting, something that’s on the research drawing board.”

Some bio fuels will have national implications and some will be local.

“Bio-diesel, for example, is a niche market, because you’ll have, you’ll be tied into say the fast food market. You’ll be getting their frying oils and using that for bio-diesel, but when you start looking at soybeans and all the oil seed crops, they’re more valuable as a food product than a fuel product right now.”

However, the price of corn seems to have been directly affected by the bio-fuel market.

“As long as there’s a viable ethanol industry in this country, the grain prices, I think, are going to be set at some floor, that are going to be higher than in previous years, because of ethanol, so that’s a good thing.”

On the other hand, farmers don’t want to lose their other customers.

“I don’t think we want to put all our eggs in the energy basket. We want a broad area where we can get our products into the market and have as many opportunities as we can and I think that fuel, bio-fuels, is just another tool in the tool box.”

Fuel, food, fiber, and feed; the markets that will keep Texas agriculture in business. I’m Joe Brown, looking at Brazos Valley agriculture, From the Ground Up.


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